I've been talking about how heaven looks at earth, and began last week sharing 2 of the 3 authority structures He established and to what degree if any He involves Himself with. The first 2 were Creation and Families. I will start with final comments about families as God's main authority structure in the earth, asking:
Where is God when children become victims?
Starting with creation which is in a fallen state, and flowing to families born into a world that is fallen and flawed, we realize we are all born into a fallen world. That means things go wrong from DNA and chromosomal abnormalities in the human body, to injuries or disease that happen to babies and children. In this fallen world the innocent suffer, and at times God seems far away and uncaring. These babies who enter a fallen and flawed world are born into families who take care of them, wrenching the hearts of the parents and causing them to ask, 'Why me? Why us? Why our child? Where are you God?'
The worst feelings we've ever felt as parents has been watching our oldest son who is handicapped, go through numerous surgeries and a stroke, and being absolutely powerless to help in any way at each of these events, not to mention powerless to heal his original brain damage from lack of oxygen in labor. He suffered brain damage in labor because the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck in a slip knot - and he wasn't taken by C-section in time. What could or can we do? We are powerless. That's when parents turn to God to ask for help - and more often than not, there seems to be no response.
Many of us were raised in the sliver of the faith that makes God out to be the Absolute Answer in all things - we hear messages that say He will heal, He will bless financially, He will save your family, He will save and heal and protect - but that isn't always fact, as seen both in the Word and in real life.
The reality is that in Hebrews 11 which is the much exalted 'hall of faith', the author says in the middle and at the end of the chapter, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises" and "but saw them far off, and were persuaded by them and embraced them and confessed they were strangers and pilgrims in the earth." My experience has been that especially parents of sick or handicapped children are the ones to see the promises far off - but they don't get to see them a reality in life. We must gird our minds with the very real possibility that unlike those around us with 'normal' children, we and our child may die in faith not having received the promises. That makes us 'abnormal' and different from friends and extended family alike - and we often wonder what is the purpose, what is the plan.
We have received the greatest promise of course, Jesus Christ, but we may end up like those in Hebrews 11; they died not having received their own promises from Him. They received them in heaven, not on earth. When children are born and something goes terribly wrong and God seems so distant, we must know He will even things out in the end, and will walk with us and our child through the valley of the shadow of death. He won't take us out of the valley, He walks with us. That is faith.
Families without God
Because the concept of family is a delegated thing, it means families can leave God completely out of their lives if they wish, and He must legally respect that - to the suffering of all, but especially the children - if they wish. All things were made by Him and for Him, but when someone abuses His intent, hardship and tragedies occur.
Let us say a young girl or boy is molested when they are young. We might ask 'Where was God? Why didn't He protect them?' and the answer is above - He created the family to be the source of God's wisdom and ways in the earth, but parents don't always walk in what God intended. That means things happen in families where God is locked out; He is not a factor nor involved in those families.
This means when that child cries out in anguish and hurt, though He sees their suffering and hears their cries, He often has to wait until a child is older and coming out from under the authority of the unsaved mom and/or dad before He can legally enter their lives directly. Having said that, I've talked to numerous adults who have told me when that abuse happened they called out to God and He gave them peace, or they had an awareness that somehow it would all be okay, but then years went by before they could actually know Him and walk with Him. Often this happens in high school or college, as a child who had been abused years earlier, is finally out from under the unsaved family's authority and the Father can legally become a large part of their lives.
In Acts 17:26-27 Paul tells us God established the tribes and families and nations (Greek; ethnos) in the earth, and determined beforehand the times of their rise and fall, and even their boundaries. He says God did that in the hopes that each 'ethnos' would seek after Him and find Him. This means the Father's hope is that in their diversity each ethnic group would find elements of Him so that across the planet when viewed as a whole, mankind would see a composite sketch of the personality of the Lord - that these differences in ethnos would compliment each other rather than be points of contention.
Proverbs 29:2, I Timothy 2:1-5 and other scriptures we are all familiar with tell us to pray for leaders that we may live in peace, and that when the righteous rule the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule the people groan. Why doesn't God intervene when His people are oppressed by wicked governments? Again, it goes back to authority in the earth. He established governments to walk with Him to bring His ways into the earth, and when they do at least some measure of that there is peace and prosperity. When they don't, people suffer and He an only work with individuals who walk with Him within the control of the (wicked) governments.
Do you see the common thread in these 3 authority structures where God DOES intervene or become involved? That answer is: Individuals.
He created earth, established a man and woman in the earth, gave them a home, told them to be good stewards over that planet, and walked with them in the Garden. He has always reserved the right therefore as our Creator because that is the first foundation, to enter the lives of individuals according to the degree each individual wants Him involved in their life. But these individuals may be under the authority of a family or government that doesn't let God in, so God can work in the individual's life, but He cannot directly intervene in the government or family.
History of Roman Empire
When we examine the history of the Roman Empire and how Christianity came to be legalized in the 300's AD, some 300 years after the cross, we see it was from the common people up, a groundswell of so many individuals walking with God that eventually the wicked government had to respond. When you study the fall of the USSR it is a similar story, the groundswell of individuals, (many have written of 'revival' within the USSR as the primary catalyst) rising up to the point in numbers and voice the government had to respond.
In nations where leaders are elected, people can post things in social media like 'God's will was done' and other things, boldly ignorant supposing God's will wasn't done in a previous administration, not realizing God moves through individuals to change families, and thence to change governments, and thence to change a culture and social norms. God isn't directly involved in an ungodly administration, but He is involved in individuals who walk with Him who move to change their government.
In the Great Commission Jesus never said to get people 'born again', that phrase comes from John 3 during a 1 on 1 conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus, at night, in private, and was never part of any teaching He did. He did say however to teach by letting others observe (in our lives) all things He told us to do and obey. That is the changing of individuals, who are part of families, which make up governments. As Jesus said to me in February, 2001 during a visitation: "As it was in the beginning, so it must by now. I'm moving in relationships." Amen. New subject next week, until then, blessings,
cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org